Tuesday, May 28, 2013

flowered sugar

opposite of what the US does

whimsy rose

Chromatic Typewriter Prints

Tyree Callahan has recycled (or upcycled, perhaps) a classic 1937 Underwood typewriter by replacing letters with sponges soaked across the spectrum with bright yellows, reds, blues and combinations thereof.

Monday, May 20, 2013

onondaga cave state park

the cathedral cave tour was awesome! well worth the $12.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Berkeley Pit Copper Mine, Butte, Montana

The Berkeley Pit, an open pit copper mine in Butte, Montana. 
The mine opened in 1955 and was shut down in 1982.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

pro choice is getting scarier

only 16 states prohibit discrimination against LGBT

where were you when CO2 levels reached 400ppm?

1.5 billion year old water preserved

This map, from the United States Geological Survey, shows the age of bedrock in different regions of North America. Scientists found ancient water in bedrock north of Lake Superior. This region, colored red, was formed more than 2.5 billion years ago.

Scientists have discovered water that has been trapped in rock for more than a billion years. The water might contain microbes that evolved independently from the surface world, and it's a finding that gives new hope to the search for life on other planets.
The water samples came from holes drilled by gold miners near the small town of Timmins, Ontario, about 350 miles north of Toronto. Deep in the Canadian bedrock, miners drill holes and collect samples. Sometimes they hit pay dirt; sometimes they hit water, which seeps out from tiny crevices in the rock.
Recently, a team of scientists (who had been investigating water samples from other mines) approached the miners and asked them for fluid from newly drilled boreholes.
, a geochemist at Lancaster University in England, and his colleagues wanted to know just how long that fluid had been trapped in the rock. So they looked at the decay of radioactive atoms found in the water and calculated that it had been bottled up for a long time — at least 1.5 billion years.
"That is the lower limit for the age," Holland says. It could be a billion years older. That means the water was sealed in the rock before humans evolved, before pterosaurs flew and before multicellular life.
As Holland announced this week in the journal Nature, this is the oldest cache of water ever found.
But how did it end up underneath that gold mine in northeastern Canada? Where did it come from?
"The fluids that we see now are actually preservations of ancient oceans," Holland says.
About 2.7 billion years ago, the landscape of small-town Timmins looked a bit different. Beneath prehistoric seas, tectonic plates were spreading, and magma was welling up to form new rock. As the rock matured under heat and pressure, water was trapped inside tiny cracks.
The rock drifted around the globe for eons, helping form continents and mountain ranges, and all the while it kept its cargo of water sealed up tight inside.
"It's managed to stay isolated for almost half the lifetime of the Earth," Holland says. It's a time capsule. And it doesn't just hold water. "There's a lot of hydrogen in these samples."
That's significant because hydrogen is food for some microorganisms. Hydrogen-eating microbes have been found deep in the ocean and in South African mines where chemical reactions in the rock produce a steady supply of hydrogen.
And that hydrogen, says Holland, "could provide the energy for life to survive in isolation for 2 billion years."
Holland's colleagues are now testing the water samples for evidence of microbes. They hope to have results within a year. If life is found, it would have evolved distinctly from the surface world and might give a unique insight into the earliest forms of life on Earth. Its discovery would also give hope to people searching for life in places that are even more remote.
Carol Stoker, a research scientist with NASA, is focused on searching for life on Mars.
"If you go back to the very early history of Earth and Mars, sort of the first billion years after the surfaces cooled, Earth and Mars looked very similar," Stoker says.
Both planets had vast surface oceans and thick atmospheres — they were good places for life to begin. On Earth, it did.
"The logic is if that happened on Earth, why shouldn't it have happened on Mars?" she says.
As Mars got colder and drier, surface life would have died off. But Martian microbes might still survive deep in the planet's crust — preserved in isolated pockets of water, just like the ones found in Canadian bedrock.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

classic men

911 turbo price

octo baby

oh deer

help turtles cross the road

Mastodon (~1920) by Heinrich Harder

Yuko Higuchi

Oldest evidence of split between Old World monkeys and apes discovered

Two fossil discoveries from the East African Rift reveal new information about the evolution of primates, according to a study published online in Nature this week led by Ohio University scientists.
The team’s findings document the oldest fossils of two major groups of primates: the group that today includes apes and humans (hominoids), and the group that includes Old World monkeys such as baboons and macaques (cercopithecoids).
Geological analyses of the study site indicate that the finds are 25 million years old, significantly older than fossils previously documented for either of the two groups. Both primates are new to science, and were collected from a single fossil site in the Rukwa Rift Basin of Tanzania.
Rukwapithecus fleaglei is an early hominoid represented by a mandible preserving several teeth. Nsungwepithecus gunnelli is an early cercopithecoid represented by a tooth and jaw fragment..
(read more: PhysOrg)                    (illustration by Mauricio Anton)

McCarthy for EPA admin

Last week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee was scheduled to vote on the nomination of Gina McCarthy, a bipartisan choice to be the next 
Environmental Protection Agency administrator. 
None of the eight Republican members of the committee showed up, 

boycotting the vote, and effectively blocking it altogether. 
Here's a detail that's getting left out of the news reports:
Seven of those Republicans don't actually believe in the science behind climate change 
-- and they refuse the notion that we have a responsibility to act on it.

In 2009, the Senate easily confirmed McCarthy to head the EPA's Clean Air Division. Before that, she worked as the environmental enforcer for Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Serpent Mound - Ohio, USA

 The figure of a giant snake, apparently uncoiling itself, was excavated in the late 19th century. The massive serpent is nearly a quarter-mile long. Recent carbon-dating research suggests the Fort Ancient culture built the monument roughly 900 years ago.
The serpent’s body is made of raised berms of grassy earth that weave across a plateau. On the summer solstice, the setting sun aligns with the snake’s head.
The earthwork is now surrounded by a park that offers beautiful hikes through leafy forests, beside creeks and along rocky cliffs.

kiwi bird


Image Sources:

Opabinia and Tullimonstrum

A silly little doodle of Opabinia (on the left) and Tullimonstrum (on the right).

Opabinia is known from the 505-million-year-old Burgess Shale fossil beds in Canada, one of the oldest sites with well-preserved imprints of soft body parts. It has some bizarre anatomy — most notably five eyes and a trunk-like proboscis — and its exact evolutionary relationships are still debated. It’s most likely closely related to the ancestors of arthropods, and one study has suggested that its closest living relatives might even betardigrades.

Tullimonstrum, meanwhile, comes from the 300-million-year-old Mazon Creek fossil beds in Illinois, USA. It’s found quite commonly there, to the point that it’s the official state fossil — and yet nobody knows just what type of animal it is! The overall rarity of soft-bodied creatures in the fossil record makes it impossible to tell what it might be related to. And while its proboscis does have a surprising similarity to that of Opabinia, that’s probably more due to convergent evolution than any actual relation.

blood clot


BBC “Walking With Beasts”

indoor cats for outdoor birds

cow anatomy

t4 phage infecting e.coli

TOP:  Anatomy of a Bacteriophage
MIDDLE:  Bacteriophage Attacking a Bacterium
BOTTOM:  What a Phage Does to its Host
The cycle begins when the virus uses its tail fibers to attach itself to its victimThe details of what happens next vary, but the process is always the same: the phage’s genetic material, which is located in its head, enters the bacterium.
Here, we’ll use T4, a well-studied phage infecting the Escherica coli bacterium, as an example.
(1) T4 contracts its tail sheath which pushes a tube located within the tail through the membrane of the bacterial cell.
(2) The phage’s DNA is passed through the tube into the cell, where it takes control, brutally stops many of its vital functions and forces it to churn out new virus components – heads, tails, tail fibers – in production-line style.
(3). Finally, enzymes dissolve the wall of the bacterium from the inside and the newborn bacteriophages reach the exterior, ready to attack new victims.
(4)  But these viruses proceed very selectively as they do so. Most of them attack only a subgroup of a single bacterial species. Generally, they don’t touch animal or human cells, which is why they are harmless to human beings.
Read more …
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